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HomeLifestyleStroke Awareness Month: 5 Things You Need To Know About Strokes

Stroke Awareness Month: 5 Things You Need To Know About Strokes

Did you know that in the UK someone will experiences a stroke every five minutes? Incidents of stokes continue to rise and they’re one of the biggest causes of death in the UK. Brain injury expert Natalie Mackenzie from Kent, tells us what we need to know about strokes this Stroke Awareness Month.

1. Learn the acronym BE FAST to get help quickly.

BE FAST is a helpful acronym to help you spot the vital signs of strokes, so learning this is one of the best things you can do to get help quicker. Here’s what you need to know.

B- Balance- Can the individual walk normally?
E- Eyes- Are they experiencing blurriness or fuzzy vision, or lost sight in one eye?

F- Face weakness. Has their smile changed? Have the face or eyes drooped?
A- Arm weakness. A quick test is to check the person can raise both arms.
S- Speech problems. Can they speak as usual and understand what you are saying?
T- Time to call 999: if you see any of these signs above.

2. A transient ischemic attack is a stroke warning sign-so don’t delay if symptoms stop.

Transient Ischemic Attack is also known as a mini stroke. Whilst an individual may have BE FAST symptoms, they may go away more quickly. So do not dismiss the above symptoms even if they stop quickly, seek medical attention to ensure you have not experienced at TIA to ensure rapid treatment to reduce the risk of a stroke.

3. The biggest risk factor is high blood pressure.

There are lots of stroke risk factors but the biggest single risk factor is actually high blood pressure- even small changes to high BP through treatment can reduce your chances of a stroke. Other risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillations, smoking, high alcohol consumption and family history.

4. Strokes can run in the family.

If a close relative has had a stroke, your risk is likely to be higher. Speak to your GP if you have close relatives with stroke or heart attack. We also know other groups of people can have a higher risk of strokes. For example, strokes occur more frequently in people who are from black or South Asian families. Some increases in risk occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Women may also experience more migraines than men, and those women who have migraines with aura may have an increased risk of stroke.

5. You can reduce your risk.

Strokes can be scary, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Make sure you attend regular GP check ups as you age, to ensure any changes to things like blood pressure and cholesterol can be tracked and managed. Follow NHS guidance on healthy lifestyle, eating and sleeping well and ensure you are moving. If you experience any symptoms of BE FAST or witness anyone experiencing them, even for a short time, make sure to call 999 immediately. Research shows quickly getting medical help can greatly influence your outcomes.

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